Ah friends, have we got a treat for you. This is the third instalment of our interview series, A Simple Path, in which we talk to inspiring creatives who are doing more with less. This week we are joined by the lovely Jane Day from teawithruby.co.uk. Sometimes you come across a blog that is inspiring yet authentic, beautiful yet simple. Tea with Ruby is just that. Jane is an interiors blogger, stylist, writer and photographer whose gorgeous blog always offers new ways to style your home using simple, sustainable, beautiful things. She is a master of light, taking pictures that have depth, texture and an incredible stillness. There is an authenticity to Jane’s work – you know she really lives what she writes. And she’s a huge fan of linen, which makes us very happy. We love her work and had to find out more about what she does, and why she does it.
Grab yourself a coffee and savour this post – it will inspire you, and get you thinking about small changes you could make to slow your life down and be properly in the moment.
Jane, thank you so much for joining us for A Simple Path part 3.
- Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
Hi my name is Jane Day and I am the name behind Tea with Ruby. I am an interiors and lifestyle blogger, content creator and writer. I started Tea with Ruby when my daughter (who the blog is named after) started school. I was lucky enough that I didn’t have to go back to work in the office after having her. I wanted to find something creative to do but still be at home and, most importantly, be a mum.
- If you had one piece of advice or wisdom to pass on to your younger self, what would it be?
Believe in yourself, have the strength to do what you want to do. Don’t make choices based on what others want you to do.
- What is it about the simple life that you find appealing?
Being able to embrace a slower pace of life is something that we cherish dearly. I know that today in this fast-paced world we are surrounded by a simple life can seem out of reach, but small changes in the way we live can bring so much benefit. Planning is the key to having a simpler life, making time to sit and have meals around the table together as a family, by not turning on the TV or laptop/phone, sitting with a book, listening to music, talking about your day. Get outside more, garden, be active and exercise. I swim nearly every morning which is the perfect start to my day, enjoying the time in the water with my thoughts. Stopping everything when you have that first coffee and not drinking it on the go, making that time count. Each little thing that you do either by yourself or as a family is far more precious if you’ve taken notice of who you are with, the surroundings you are in and made every minute matter. A simple life isn’t about having less but being more considerate with the things that you have.
- How can we counter the pulls of content-sharing and curating images of our lives with the need for being in the moment?
This can be a tricky one to achieve. The pull to be constantly connected grows the more technology advances, but the world won’t stop if we don’t catch it all on Instagram stories! It can be a pressure to be seen to have the perfect life but we all know it’s not always like that. I think I definitely live more in the moment; if you happen to catch it to share then great but don’t worry about it if you don’t, there is always another day.
- Who inspires you?
Many of the talented women I converse with every day through the wonder of social media. I am surrounded by strong talented women, each and every one of them inspire me. If I were to name one person at the moment it would be the designer Ilse Crawford. She puts human needs and desires at the centre of all that she does, emphasising the need for our environment to be comfortable and homely, enhancing and improving our everyday lives through design. She is a design icon whom I admire very much.
- What are your essential homeware items/ things you couldn’t do without?
Linen bedding, hamman towels and a coffee machine. Simple pleasures: sleeping under linen sheets is sheer bliss. Beautiful towels to wrap yourself up in after a lovely soak in the bath, and of course coffee, I couldn’t start the day without a slow cup of coffee in my favourite ceramic mug.
- What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?
Do you know I don’t think I can plan that far ahead. Hopefully I will be happy and healthy and my life will be full. I would like to envisage that Tea with Ruby has grown and diversified, that I am content and still passionate about what I am doing and enjoying wherever it has taken me.
- What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?
I wish I had been wilder as my younger self and travelled a bit more before starting a family, but that aside I would probably say the wildest thing I have ever done was to shave all my hair off when I was 41. That and getting my first tattoo at the same age! I wanted to be free of dying my hair so thought this would be the quickest way of dealing with it. Not having chemicals put on my hair anymore was quite liberating and I’m loving the grey, to the point that I have quite a daring haircut because of it. The tattoos are a statement too; wild maybe not, but meaningful yes.
Thank you so much for your time, and sharing your thoughts with us!
Isn’t Jane fabulous? Make sure to check out her gorgeous new post featuring LinenMe’s table linens for Easter. And you can follow her along on Instagram (@teawithruby) for more simple sumptuousness.
Woohoo! Here’s the second instalment of our interview series, A Simple Path, which explores how inspiring, creative people are doing more with less.
This month we had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Erica Lee, @thehyggewife on Instagram and creator of thehyggewife.com. We are huge fans of Erica’s stunning photography and admire her commitment to living a simpler, more intentional life. Sit back and enjoy – we think you are going to love this one.
- Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
Most of what I do revolves around my life as a wife and mom. It is where my motivation and inspiration comes from every day. In addition, I am a writer, photographer, homemaker, and connoisseur of all things hygge. Hygge is a Danish word that means, in simple terms, ‘coziness’, but that I consider to be a lifestyle. I live my life around it and have devoted my blog to inspiring others to find hygge in their lives.
I haven’t always lived a simple, intentional life. However, one day a year ago when I was exceptionally overwhelmed I began reading about hygge. Everything about it just really resonated with me. For me, it wasn’t just tea cups and blankets – I learned to build a lifestyle upon it.
I then started my Instagram @thehyggewife. Being the wife of a Norwegian (the word ‘hygge’ is Danish but originated in Norway), the name The Hygge Wife became my online journal for documenting our lifestyle. I aim to inspire others to also look for cozy moments, find meaning in the little things, and live more intentionally.
If you had one piece of advice or wisdom to pass onto your younger self, what would it be?
I have always been kind of an old soul. I love white and grey and, growing up, that was seen as kind of weird (though funnily enough it is now an appealing color scheme). I love to write more than anything, and I love to take notes! I’ve finally realized that it’s okay to be myself. I’ve always been interested in a simpler way of living, and I’ve always been afraid of how most of the world would view that (even now, I often get comments like, ‘Simple living? But why? You’re still young!’). However, when I finally found hygge and decided to build and document a lifestyle around it, I learned that there will always be those that don’t understand, but so many who will. No matter how ‘weird’ you think you are, there are people out there like you, waiting for you open up and make them feel like they belong somewhere. I hope that those out there looking for a simpler lifestyle will feel like they’ve come home, when they happen upon my feed or website.
What is it about the simple life that you find appealing?
When you live more simply, you feel more deeply.
I don’t know of a better way to explain it. Living with less allows us to slow down, consider, come to terms with things we may have been neglecting or work on things we want to improve. We can focus on what matters, we can realize that we don’t need to always have ‘the next best thing’ in order to feel good about ourselves. When we eliminate the unnecessary things, we can take the time to serve others, strengthen our friendships, feel more connected with our children or significant others, and follow our passions.
How can we counter the pulls of content-sharing and curating images of our lives with the need for being in the moment?
I wish I had better advice for this one! It can be hard to find a balance, because you want to capture your ‘real life’ for your audience (and for yourself), but you also want your images to look good. I would say, just get into the habit of taking your camera with you wherever you go and get quick at using manual mode. That way, in a beautiful moment, you can snap the picture quickly and then get back to enjoying that precious moment.
Who inspires you?
Kim Klassen. Oh gosh. What can I say?! Kim has been my biggest inspiration as I’ve navigated through my creative journey. I love her theme of ‘finding stillness’, and the beauty she conveys in simple moments. Kim is also a mentor and friend who gives me great ideas and cares so much about seeing me succeed. She is an amazing photographer and entrepreneur as well.
Angie Wendricks, from @countyroadliving, lives in a simple, yet beautiful country home. She shares everyday on Instagram about her minimalist lifestyle and it is such an inspiration to me. I hope to one day achieve the level of simplicity that she conveys.
My husband: He pushes me to keep striving and never to doubt myself.
My baby: He finds joy in the littlest things, like touching my hair.
What are your essential homeware items/things you couldn’t do without?
Candles and string lights: We have white string lights decorating our bedroom, and candles throughout the house. I light a candle at my desk every time I sit down to work, and every time we sit at the kitchen table for a meal. Even at breakfast, my son and I share our breakfast muesli and porridge by candlelight. It marks the beginning and ending of each activity, and candles help me to stay present in the moment, and let everything else melt away.
I’m currently reading ‘The Danish Way of Parenting’ (which I’ve written about on the blog under ‘Motherhood‘), and I’m also in the middle of ‘The Book of Hygge’ by Louisa Thomsen Brits.
For cookbooks, I love ‘A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in my Farmhouse’. It’s not Scandinavian, of course, but I love her emphasis on simple ingredients and finding time to cook. Another I use often is ‘Gluten Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.’
Linen bedding and table linens: Just so many linens! I love the natural and rustic look of them. We have linen bedding and napkins, and I am currently trying to sew linen baby blankets, so we’ll see how that goes...
Cake Platters: Every Friday, we have ‘Friday fika‘ at our house. It is a weekly tradition of gathering on a Friday evening, chatting about our weeks and the weekend to come, and indulging in a made-from-scratch treat. I usually bake something Scandinavian for it, but not necessarily. I love looking forward to it at the end of the week, and it is such a wonderful way to mark the beginning of the weekend, sitting and chatting and eating together.
Our shaggy rug: We have one of those giant, shaggy rugs. Not only does it provide a soft place to land, but cozy materials like this bring more hygge into the home. It has become the center of our home and is where we tend to subconsciously gather.
Nature at home: Bringing nature into our homes actually makes them feel more cozy. It gives our homes a natural element and reminds us of the wonder that lies outside our doors.
What would you like to be doing in 10 years time?
Oh gosh! So many things! Most importantly, I plan to have a bigger family, and to be raising kids to live simply and cherish each other and the outdoors. I hope that in ten years time I will be continuing to do what I love, which is to inspire others to find meaning and beauty in simplicity, and to teach them about how I’ve built a lifestyle around the concept of hygge.
I just published a guide to hygge and Nordic living on my site that is free for my email subscribers. It’s all about hygge, of course, and gives you applicable ways to ‘hygge’ in your own life. However, in the future, I would love to write a full-on book about hygge.
And I would also love to host workshops around the world on photography, writing and simple living.
Thanks so much Erica! It has been a delight to dip into your world, and we look forward to following your adventures with hygge in the future.
There’s been a definite spring-like smell in the air these past few days. The evenings are stretching a bit longer, the hens are laying more, wild birds are chorusing, bulbs are pushing stems gleefully up through the earth. It’s a time to celebrate renewal and rebirth, so we thought we’d give you 7 simple ways to herald in the new season. So sit back, pour yourself a cup of tea, open a window and drink in the beautiful spring.
If you thought doing laundry was a chore, we’ve got some fascinating historical facts about how people cared for linen before modern washing machines and Persil made an appearance. Linenbeauty.com met with textile historian and museums officer Emma O’Connor, of Sussex Past, a charity which runs several historic sites in Sussex, England, and learned some pretty eye-opening things about caring for linens the old-school way. Here’s what she told us:
Decorating the nursery is one of the loveliest tasks when preparing for the birth of a child, but it can also feel overwhelming. Do we go for pink or blue? What furniture will we need? How do we make it cosy without being cluttered? We’ll help you address all these questions, as well as give you some useful tips on creating the perfect space for your baby to grow into.
Here’s what you need to consider when decorating a nursery:
Browsing for linen and baffled by words like ‘huckaback’ and ‘thread count’? Don’t know your stonewash from your garment wash? Never fear, Linenbeauty is here to set you straight and guide you through the sometimes complicated business of buying linen products. Here are some of the key terms you might come across, and what you need to know to make the right choice.
With six new books out this winter covering the topic of ‘hygge’, it’s no wonder everyone is talking about it. But do we really know what this Danish word means, and how do we do it? Here’s where we come in. We thought we’d give you a quick explanation of hygge, and some simple ideas for how to bring it into your home, whether you live in Scandinavia or Seattle.
The word ‘hygge’ doesn’t have a literal translation, which is why it has proven tricky to explain to non-Scandi folk. It’s best characterised by feelings and mood rather than a direct object: think coziness, warmth, contentment and you’ll be pretty close. Hygge is something that we can all attain, regardless of wealth or background. It embraces the simple, gentle things in life and encourages us to notice with full intent the things we are surrounded with. It is about finding pleasure in the presence of soothing things, about connection with others, belonging and ritual.
Many of us will be waving off a child this month as they leave for college (*weeps*), or moving out of our family home and into a new life of
parties studying. We thought we would ease the transition by rounding up some top tips on how to boss dorm room style on a limited budget. Make any room, any size, feel like home with these simple ideas. Easy as ABC.
Sleep is essential to our wellbeing, yet many of us struggle with insomnia or disrupted sleep. Whether unable to fall asleep or waking in the early hours, bad nights can wreak havoc with our health and happiness. So, we’ve got some tips that will help you tackle the issues head on, and hopefully get some proper, restorative ZZZZZZs.